Lewis Hamilton insists his focus remains on taking a first race victory at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Place in this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, despite the championship ramifications should Mercedes AMG Petronas team-mate Nico Rosberg take the chequered flag first instead.
Despite controlled back-to-back victories in Austin and Mexico City, the reigning world champion still trails stablemate Rosberg by 19 points heading into the final two Grands Prix of the campaign, and a victory for the latter would see him seal a first world title in Interlagos.
Hamilton, who equaled Alain Prost’s total of 51 Grand Prix victories with his win in Mexico, needs Rosberg to make a mistake if he is to finish the season level with the Frenchman’s record of four world titles.
The Brit paid tribute to his engineering team for the brace of wins in October, but lamented his ability to take results despite the superiority of his W07 hybrid.
“It’s a great feeling when you’re able to show the kind of pace I’ ve shown at the past two races. Everyone has worked so hard and the car has really been faultless.” commented Hamilton.
“The speed has been there all season – I just haven’t always had the opportunity to take advantage of it.”
He admitted it was a surreal feeling to be chasing maximum points whilst also keeping one eye on Rosberg’s fortunes, rather than focusing solely on his own championship efforts, but having lost the world title at the final round in both 2007 and 2010, he heads into the final two races with a wealth of experience on how quickly things can change in Formula One.
“In terms of the Championship, it’s an unusual scenario to be in – fighting for something and not knowing for sure that what you do will guarantee you’re able to make it. One outcome would be painful and the other would be a great achievement.
“Regardless, I’m going to keep pushing. Since the beginning of my Formula One career I’ve seen that everything can change even at the very last moment, so you have to fight to the bitter end. I’ve never won in Brazil, so I go into this weekend focused on changing that.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, believes Hamilton has marked himself out as one of the true greats of the sport this season, and regardless of the final outcome is certain the three-time world champion has more success to come in the future.
“Lewis knows what he must do to keep his title hopes alive. He will never back down and that’s what makes him one of the great ones. He has three Championships and 51 victories under his belt – and no matter the outcome this year, we all know there will be more to come.”